I recently had a look at my submissions on The Submissions Grinder, and noticed that I’d sent “Me and the Bee” to two markets over a year ago, with no updates. I emailed the both of them, and one of them replied to me:
Our editorial team really enjoyed your story, and we were holding onto it for a while as we figured out our plans for our next issue. Unfortunately we’re now on hiatus as we have decided to restructure our journal. I’m sorry again for this disappointing news, but I think your story is very strong and has a good chance of being accepted elsewhere.
So… it’s not accepted, but it almost was, I guess. So close.
debated changing the title from Translations to Reflection, Translation, Invasion (which is a not-completely-inaccurate summary of the story, at a very high level);
turned on the air conditioning, because it was getting pretty hot;
borrowed the neighbours’ kayak and paddled on the lake for a half-hour or so right at sunset;
went and got some more photos of the Milky Way and (serendipitously) the Aurora Borealis.
“Can I help you with something?” Headless mannequins wore flimsy cotton dresses in earth tones. Countertop racks displayed neacklaces and bracelets made of beads, pearls, or smooth and polished stones. A sign at the back said RESTROOMSFORPAYINGCUSTOMERSONLY.
“I need a washroom,” I said.
She motioned at the sign.
“No, I need a washroom.”
She sighed, though I couldn’t tell whether she was exasperated with me or with the situation I was evidently trying to put her in. “Policy,” she said. Then, giving me a good looking-over, she said, much more quietly, “You okay?”
wrote 2,000 more words in two shifts, morning and evening;
read about ⅓ of Dreyer’s English, chortling all the while;
went for a 3.5km kayak ride on the lake;
did a quick 5km bike ride to the coffee shop and to Co-op for groceries;
and went back out for some more astrophotography, this time in the river valley to the north.
Here’s a quick sample of the writing so far (still 1st draft):
Your nose is broken, she’d said. I reached up and touched it, gingerly, expecting pain. Instead it felt cold and numb. Touching it felt like I was touching someone else’s nose. Like it was made of wax.
I felt a thin strip of metal or metal-like plastic that ran from between my eyebrows down the bridge of my nose to its tip. I tried to lift it off, to pry a nail under it, but couldn’t. It was like it was a part of me. Maybe it was a part of me now.
You’ve been concussed.That part I didn’t need to check to believe. I remembered the headache, the nausea that never quite went away and never quite resolved into actual vomiting. When I lay down on the bed, the room seemed to shiver and spin, slowly, an orbit that I didn’t like.
Read at least a couple of the books I brought: Provenance by Ann Leckie (I’m about ¾ of the way through, so that should work out); The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro; Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer; and The Knight by Gene Wolfe (because it’s a tradition, apparently, that I read Wolfe while I’m at the cabin).
I’m also due in Winnipeg for my nephew’s birthday party, which means I’ll be able to pick up the copy of Michael Swanwick’s The Iron Dragon’s Mother that I pre-ordered in (checks notes) (…these notes are illegible) February? maybe. And a friend is camping at Clear Lake starting mid-week, so I’ll probably go bother him for an afternoon or something.
As my darling wife is wont to say, “Write faster, Johanneson.”
Header image: last night, reading Provenance on the deck with a glass of Writer’s Tears.
This anthology features a collection of stories ranging far wider than I anticipated. There is, perhaps, a Canada-wide tendency to underestimate Manitoba. […] Amazing what stories the contributors wrested from its soil. I confess this book exceeded my expectations. Well worth reading.